Italy 1-0 Scotland: Lethargic Azzurri scrape past Tartan Terriers in pre-Euro 2016 friendly
Italy were far from impressive, but managed to squeak by a reserve Scotland side 1-0 at the Ta’Qali National Stadium in Attard, Malta.
The Azzurri dominated proceedings but struggled to create for much of the match and were terribly wasteful in front of goal when opportunities did present themselves, but Graziano Pelle did manage to find the back of the net in the 56th minute to preserve the narrow victory.
The Scottish showed little attacking intent and could not muster a single shot at Gianluigi Buffon for 77 minutes, the icon collecting the easiest of clean sheets.
The first chance of the match fell to the Italians after seven minutes. An Antonio Candreva fierce low drive was pushed aside by David Marshall into the path of Emanuele Giaccherini but the Sunderland-owned man’s rebound was hit to close to the goalkeeper who was able to complete the double save.
In the 23rd minute, Candreva played a ball across the box that struck the hand of the Scotland defender, deflecting to the foot of Giaccherini but the player could only balloon his effort over the bar.
At the half hour mark Daniele De Rossi played a delightful ball over the defence to Giaccherini who missed the target once again.
Candreva saw three volleys finish well over the bar, as a lack of accuracy was clearly letting the Azzurri down.
After a lethargic opening 10 minutes of the second half, Italy found their lead courtesy of Pelle. Eder collected a pass outside of the box and laid the ball off to the big man who smashed his effort past the goalkeeper at the near side.
After the goal, coach Antonio Conte began testing out another crop of players, as the substitutions were coming thick and fast.
Scotland finally had a sniff at goal 13 minutes from time when Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie unleashed a hard effort that just missed at the near post after a terrible giveaway by the Italian defence.
The remainder of the match was played without incident, Italy taking the narrow victory but leaving Conte with much to consider in the coming days.
The Azzurri finish their Euro 2016 preparations with a match against Finland on June 6th, at which time a final 23-man roster would have been finalized.